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Toronto Maple Leafs top 25 under 25: #9 Connor Brown

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The Maple Leafs steady 3rd liner falls to the bottom of the top 10.

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs

Connor Brown is entering his third full NHL season in 2018-19 and has established himself as two things:

1) A steady reliable third-line player who chips in with the occasional point, and plays just well enough to not be noticed for bad plays, but isn’t a highlight reel player by any means.

And

2) A popular player to put into trade proposals because he’s signed for a nice $2.1 million deal for the next two seasons, is still an RFA after that, and is a solid third liner who isn’t a risk out on the ice.

Not a lot is written about Connor Brown. If you want reference articles, you’ll have to dig deep as there seems to be as much interest in him as there are in background characters from a 90’s rom-com. A cursory google search brings up dozens of stat sites, a popular Sportsnet article from last season, and a few stories from the #1 Maple Leafs fan-run website. There was a lot of interest in him at the start of last season. Arvind and Omar both looked into if he could repeat his rookie season, and after that it’s a bit of a barren search.

Last year, when Connor Brown was ranked #6 in the top 25, I described him as:

He’s a skilled shooter, a great skater, and a safe, reliable player (10 penalty minutes last season). Connor Brown is a player that could be in the Leafs’ future for a very long time. He’s not flashy, he’s not a showcase player. He’s constant, reliable, and...there. Connor Brown is what people mean when they say “lunch pail” player. He’s the kind of player that Bruce Springsteen would write a song about.

This still holds up, and though his points dropped off last season due to line up experimentation, we can count on Brown to be relatively consistent, based on his short, three season professional career.

Connor Brown professional stats

Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
2014-2015 Toronto Marlies AHL 76 21 40 61 10
2015-2016 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 7 1 5 6 0
Toronto Marlies AHL 34 11 18 29 8
2016-2017 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 82 20 16 36 10
2017-2018 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 82 14 14 28 18
Eliteprospects.com

2015-16 was a write off after he broke his foot, of course it was a write off for everything Maple Leafs. In his debut Marlies season, he scored 20 goals. In his debut Leafs season, he scored 20 goals. In his second Leafs season he....was on the fourth line a lot, but still managed 14 goals.

I still ranked him #5, because he’s getting solid minutes, steady production, and is a guaranteed NHLer. If I’m doing my top 5 Maple Leafs, they’re all going to be players who have had a steady presence in the line up.

Others didn’t vote him as high. When I asked the masses in the PPP Editors Lounge for opinions, they were lengthy and varying:

Fulemin: he’s okay i guess

Arvind: my opinion on Brown is that he needs to be the worst player on a line by far for it to be successful.

Katya: Oh, that is a lovely way to basically call a man Leo Komarov.

Connor Brown will be a Toronto Maple Leafs as long as he wants. He has the perfect recipe for being a long term bottom six player for the Leafs:

  1. He’s from Toronto, and that means a lot to charities, fans, and the future alumni association.
  2. He’s relatively cheap.
  3. You never notice him for being flashy, nor for being a disaster.

He’ll only leave town if he eyes a salary above his place on the team once he becomes a UFA, and the Leafs develop a similar player from the draft.

Thanks for being there Connor.